There are abundant incredible attractions in Transylvania. Ranging from natural to cultural and historical attractions, we compiled a list to help you get a first impression. Tourism is an important part of medical travel and we encourage you to get the most out of your journey. While there are plenty of visiting sites in Cluj-Napoca where you will get treatment, we also recommend exploring the whole region. For interesting activities in Cluj visit our dedicated page. To learn more about our company and services, go here.
Natural attractions in Transylvania
1. Transfagarasan road
Transfagarasan is definitely one of the best attractions in Transylvania: Top Gear voted it the best road to drive on . Climbing to an altitude of 2000 meters, the road opens only from the end of June until the beginning of October. Romanian authorities built it in 1970 as a strategic military route, with the aim of crossing the southern part of the Carpathian mountains. Now it is a major touristic point and represents also the access to Romania’s highest peaks. For tourists visiting in the off-season, there is also a gondola that takes passenger above the road for an aerial view.
2. Turda Salt Mine
An underground amusement park that lies in an old salt mine 30 km from Cluj, this unique attraction is sure to fascinate every visitor. The lowest part of the mine is over 100 m deep and visitors can take a boat ride to explore the surroundings. In addition, the salt mine is a well-preserved museum displaying mining equipment, salt tunnels and galleries. Lastly, its salty air is recommended for people with respiratory problems and is open year-round. In case you just want to relax inside, there are many events including concerts, which have a very nice acoustic in the salt chambers. Website: http://salinaturda.eu/?lang=en
3. Tarnita lake
Lake Tarnita is the ideal place to relax in a beautiful natural setting. The main water source for the city of Cluj-Napoca, the lake is also the favorite local spot for building summer homes. But despite the populated areas, there is plenty of wilderness and many animals, such as a variety of birds, deer and rabbits. The lake is spectacular in all four seasons, and features many opportunities for relaxation: visitors can rent a kayak, walk the forest trails, enjoy seafood or just simply sunbathe and swim. In addition, at the end of the lake there is a dam offering stunning views of the surroundings. This is the place for people who want to experience the local atmosphere and is ideally visited on weekdays, as sometimes summer weekends can get quite busy.
4. Colibita lake
Colibita is the perfect place for people looking to rest while having gorgeous views, fresh air and quietness. The lake sits at 1000 meters and it has a wide range of tourist accommodation and services. We recommend going for something traditional, both in terms of food and hotel. The lake also has a beach open for the public. Because of the altitude, the vegetation consists of pine trees, which make for a very unique beach setting: http://www.romania-travel-guide.com/en/attractions/water/recreation-at-colibita-lake.html
Cultural attractions in Transylvania
5. Sighisoara city
The heart of Sighisoara is its medieval center surrounded by fortified walls. Interesting is also that the Roman Empire built it in the 12th century. It is also one of Transylvania’s cities inhabited by Saxons, people with German ethnicity that settled here 800 years ago. Therefore, the city’s architecture is unique and very colorful, with narrow cobblestone streets, very old but well-preserved churches and lots of historical landmarks. Things to visit include: the clock tower, the citadel square, the Venetian’s house and Vlad Dracul’s house. This attraction is connected to the popular legend of Dracula, inspired by the ruler Vlad the Impaler, who was born in Sighisoara. Nowadays, his house is transformed in a restaurant decorated in medieval style.
6. Biertan village
Biertan is one of the most important Saxon villages in Transylvania and features unique architecture in a beautiful natural setting: https://www.experiencetransylvania.ro/villages/biertan/ The village itself however is famous for a very different reason: it only had one divorce in the past 300 years. The reason? The couples that wanted to get divorced were locked in the fortified church’s tower with only one bed, one set of cutlery, one chair and one set of covers until they settled all their disputes. Of course, this was an old tradition, and the “prison” is now open to visitor’s. In addition, Biertan was an important wine-growing center, and locals offer interesting wine-tasting tours.
Historical attractions in Transylvania
7. Corvin castle
The Corvin castle, also known as Hunedoara castle, is one of the largest castles in Europe and one of the must-visit attractions in Transylvania. The castle features a Gothic-Renaissance style from the 15th century, with plenty of towers, exhibitions, chambers with beautiful views and bastions. It is open daily, and tour guides immerse tourists in the many legends that surround the place. For stunning photos, wait until sunset when the guards turn on the lights. As interesting info, it was also the setting for the Age of Empires video game.
8. Alba Iulia citadel
The largest citadel in Romania, this star-shaped fortress is of great historical importance. Here, King Ferdinand and Queen Mary signed the Treaty of the Great Union of Romania. The citadel itself dates back to the Roman Empire, and inside there are many artifacts from this period. Inside the citadel visitors can see the Coronation Cathedral, the National Union Museum and, perhaps the most spectacular, watch the ceremony of guard change: ‘Troops’ in traditional costumes from the city’s once Austrian empire infantry, cavalry and artillery divisions all participate in a show involving cannons, drums and horses: http://www.visitalbaiulia.com/walking-around-alba-iulia-citadel/
9. Bran castle
Probably the most famous of all attractions in Transylvania, this castle blurs the lines between myth and reality. Thought to be the setting for Bram Stoker’s famous book ‘Dracula’, the castle is on the must visit list of every traveler to Transylvania. However, there is no base to the assumption that the book’s setting had anything to do with the castle. Moreover, although people claim that Vlad the Impaler is the inspiration for Dracula, Bran castle was not the ruler’s residence. Quite to the contrary, it belonged to its enemies who eventually captured him. Nowadays, the archduke of Habsburg, heir of the royal family, ownes the castle. Visitors can also admire a personal collection of royal furniture.
Official site: http://www.bran-castle.com9
10. Rasnov citadel
Rasnov, close to Bran castle, is a citadel that the Teutonic knights built on a hill. As such, it offers a spectacular view of the surroundings. The authorities recently renovated the fortress, which now hosts events such as concerts and theater shows. Both the Tatar-, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empire conquered the citadel, so that its cultural heritage is very mixed. Visitors can hire audio-guides at the entrance to explore the history. One of its most remarkable features is the well, which is almost 150 meters deep. In 1623, during a siege, the inhabitants of the citadel had to dug in search for water for 17 years. Local legends say that a treasure is also buried there, however modern excavations did not support this theory.